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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


No candles please. Fire regulations won’t allow them

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s really early. I couldn’t sleep. So I got up and began working. Is this what 59 looks like? Read on.


• I’ve always heard folks getting up in years have a tendency to go to sleep earlier and rise earlier. Well, the latter part of that statement came true for me today, though the former was derailed by the Presidents Cup. In other words, sleep didn’t come until just before midnight. A pity. If I stayed awake just a few minutes longer I could have ushered in my 59th birthday in style. And by style I mean with David Letterman on the TV. Letterman is still on TV, right? He was when I last watched the clock strike midnight. Clocks still strike, right? No matter. I awoke at just after 5 to do something people my age usually do a lot overnight and decided, what the heck, let’s get the morning post up early. And freakin’ go back to bed. It’s my birthday after all. Why spend a couple hours typing away when, really, I don’t have to? You folks will understand. Whenever you get up.

• By the way, I didn’t reach my weight-loss goal. I wanted to lose 65 pounds by my birthday. I lost 58. So no birthday cake for me. ... Just kidding. I’m having a donut or two for breakfast, a lunch at a fast-food restaurant and either some exotic Italian dish or a hearty Beef Wellington for dinner. Then tomorrow it’s back to the grind. My new goal is to get to my optimum weight by my sister’s birthday. And no, that’s not in January or February. It’s a month down the road. Wish me luck.


• WSU: Is the Cougar defense better than it’s been? Well, it is certainly better now than it was against Portland State, but that’s not a huge hurdle to clear. Still, improvement is improvement and it couldn’t come at a better time, with Oregon on the schedule for this week. The Ducks haven’t been the Ducks yet, if you get my drift, but there are still too many explosive athletes in Eugene to not be worried. Jacob Thorpe looks at the defensive gains this season in this story. ... Jacob also has his usual practice report from last night, including interviews with Mike Leach and Clay McGuire. ... Jacob held a live chat yesterday and has this transcript of the Q-and-A session. ... It’s been a good year thus far for Jacob, though who knows if the success picking Pac-12 games will continue. ... Finally, Jacob has a morning post with links. ... This is the Oregon running back I fear the most this weekend. But there also may be a new/old wide receiver to fear as well. ... So Leach has a battleaxe next to his bed? (Cue Henny Youngman joke here.) Other Pac-12 coaches say what they have in the house is more of a deterrent.

• Gonzaga: Want to know what the Zags’ international players do all summer? Then read this well-done story from Jim Meehan. ... A Gonzaga woman golfer won a tournament on the West Side.

• EWU: Cal Poly has a quarterback everyone fears. Eastern is no different. Jim Allen has the story.

• Chiefs: Victoria started quickly and rolled to a 4-1 win over Spokane. ... Everett has been leaning on some rookies.

• Preps: Did you know Father Flanigan and the Boys Town football team once visited Spokane? Bill Pierce did. And, no, it wasn’t to visit Bing Crosby’s home. ... Greg Lee has a feature on a Mt. Spokane basketball player who found what she wanted in basketball. ... Gonzaga Prep girls’ soccer coach Billy Barmes has had a heck of a journey to where he is now. Jim Allen chronicles his journey in this feature. ... Mt. Spokane handed Ferris its first GSL girls soccer defeat. That leads our roundup.

• Seahawks: Let’s forget about what happened the other night. The undefeated Bengals are on the docket for Sunday and the Hawks hope to have Marshawn Lynch back. That was part of what Pete Carroll had to say yesterday. ... Darrell Bevell spoke to the media as well and the offensive coordinator addressed the offensive line issues, Russell Wilson, Lynch and much more. ... Speaking of the line, there are no changes planned for this week. For this week. Next week, who knows? ... Richard Sherman has a healthy respect for the Bengals’ A.J. Green. ... OK, we can’t skip Monday night’s ending completely. A lot of people are still talking about it.

• Mariners: So what is it? Is the future of manager Lloyd McClendon the most important decision of the offseason or is it a series of decisions on arbitration-eligible players? ... I pass along this tidbit not because it matters to too many people who read this column every day but because it matters to me. I always thought this guy got a raw deal. And I love the photo.


• Another year has gone by. And today is important. It is the final time I will celebrate my birthday. Fifty-nine of them are enough. Heck, 29 of them were enough. Until later ...

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Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.